March 30, 2022. News

Latest Violence Involving those who Identify as Women And Girls (VIIWAG) Special Interest Group held – March 2022

The VRU-convened Special Interest Group which has a focus on Violence Involving those Identifying as Women and Girls met last week, with a broad representation of practitioners and academics, sharing information and identifying best practice and solutions.

The VIIWAG SIG is one of three themed Special Interest Groups (SIGs), each is a professional network, bringing together a range of practitioners, researchers, experts in their field as well as those with their own experience of the specific issues. Through these groups, the VRU seeks to support professional partnerships and to build networks which can identify best practice and opportunities for partners to work together across the Thames Valley and beyond.

The three Special Interest Groups include:

  1. Violence Involving those Identifying as Women & Girls (known as the VIIWAG SIG)
  2. Neuro-Diversity & Disability
  3. Trauma Informed Practice

The VIIWAG Special Interest Group meetings was held last week (21 March).

This SIG has been running the longest and has continued to grow its membership, attracting a wide range of representation to its monthly virtual meetings.

It was established to look wider that the specific issues of violence against women and girls (commonly called VAWG), taking a broader view which includes the female as the offender, Alfa-female roles and has also discussed those issues facing the Trans and LGBT communities.

It has a set of thematic areas which it has been exploring over the months, including the following:

This month, presentations were given by Dr Karen Jones and Dr Liz Houldsworth from the University of Reading and Henley Business School, covering a proposal to develop a Career Capital model and programme to support women into meaningful employment, particularly where they have been either the victim or perpetrator of criminality and violence.  There is widespread acknowledgement that stable employment is a key protective factor in supporting victims overcome their experience. Similarly, for a perpetrator of an offence, securing employment can be a stabilising factor in helping them steer clear of further crime and violence.

Detective Inspector Brendan Murray of the Thames Valley Violence Reduction Unit presented on Trauma Informed Policing and a model for Improving Victim Outcomes, Offender Opportunity & Outcome, and Staff Wellbeing.

The final presentation was from Josephine Knowles, who is Co-Director of a charity called Beyond the Streets. With a remit to support those who are exploited in the sex work industry into a life beyond sexual exploitation. Josephine provided an insight into her organisation’s work as well as working with the SIG to unpick and challenge the language and preconceptions around sex work and survival sex.

If you are a professional or an academic working on aspects which relate to violence against women and girls and wish to join future VIIWAG Special Interest Group meetings, particularly if you have something to share with others, contact Detective Inspector Gayle Tandy who leads the group: